tv PBS News Hour PBS September 28, 2012 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT
gulf to watch a massive military exercise aimed at securing the strait of hormuz. >> we need to be prepared to deal with mines go in the water. this exercise is focused on the mine trip and demonstrating our able to clear mines. we have to be able to do that. >> suarez: the chinese communist party ousts a once-powerful politician and prepares to unveil its new leadership. margaret warner has our update. >> woodruff: mark shields and david brooks analyze the weeks news. >> suarez: and from our "american graduate" series, we take an encore look at the story of an eighth grader who turns to jourlism to tackle violence in his middle school. >> if i didn't have a-- i would probably be let up with the wrong people and doing the wrong stuff. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: with less than a week left before the first presidential debate, both candidates remained focused day on persuading voters they can boost the economy. but a key question at the heart of it all-- is the economy slowing, stalling, or perhaps even gaining strength in some ways? new data are sending conflicting signs. republican presidential nominee mitt romney campaigned today at a military academy in pennsylvania. romney promised better jobs for young people like the cadets sitting behind him and a better future for the entire country. >> we're in a very different road than what i think the people of the world expected from the united states of america. and if i'm elected president of this country, i will get us back on a road of growth and prosperity and strength. >> woodruff: today at a campaign
event in washington, president obama shared a message of what he called "economic patriotism" tied to a strong middle class. >> but our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met. we've still got the workers in the world, the best universities, the best scientists, the best... we got the best stuff. ( laughter ) we just got to bring it together. >> woodruff: consumer confidence is higher of late, and the president may be getting a boost from voter attitudes. an nbc news/"wall street journal" poll out last week found 42% of americans think the economy will improve in the next year. that's six points higher than a month ago. 18% say the economy will worsen, and almost a third expect it to stay the same. the obama campaign is also pointing to some revised job numbers to make its case. the u.s. bureau of labor statistics said yesterday there
were nearly 400,000 more jobs created in the previous year that ended in march. that would mean that there are a higher number of jobs than when president obama took office. but the u.s. still has four million fewer jobs since before the collapse of the financial sector. there's other sobering data as well, showing a still sluggish recovery. the commerce department revised its estimate of second-quarter economic growth down yesterday from 1.7%. mitt romney seized on the change in springfield, virginia. >> we are at 1.3%. this is... this is unacceptable. >> woodruff: other economic indicators also paint a mixed picture. the stock market itself, while down today, has been climbing in recent weeks to its highest levels in nearly five years. today, the dow jones industrial average lost almost 49 points after a weak manufacturing report and worries over europe
to close just over 13,437. and the housing market may be stabilizing. a key index showed home prices rose in july to the highest level in almost two years, pointing to a recovery there. consumer spending was also up last month, but it was largely to pay for higher gasoline prices. for a closer look at all this with two people who follow these matters closely, we turn to kenneth rogoff, a professor of economics and public policy at harvard university, and co- author of "this time, it's different: eight centuries of financial folly"; and muhamed el-erian, c.e.o. of pimco, a global investment management firm, one of world's largest bond investors. gentlemen, thank you to both of you for being with us. muhamed el-erian, let me start with you. there is so much information coming in but it's not all pointing in the same direction. how do you see the strength of the economy?
>> so judy, you're right. it's mixed information. if you were to bring it all together we believe it points to a really sluggish economy. by that we mean growth of 1%. and there are both external and internal reasons for that. externally the headwinds are considerable. china is slowing. europe is still in a debt crisis. internally we are still dealing with the legacy of the financial crisis. we've had basically no policymaking out of congress now for a long time. and to make things even worse, the healthy parts of the economy, and there are quite a few, the healthy parts are not engaging because they're waiting to see how the fiscal cliff and other things are going to work out. so sluggish economy with the risk of stalled speed. >> so ken rogoff, is sluggish the main word you would use? >> i think muhamed el-erian gave a pretty good description of what's going on. i do think next year might look a little better.
but i don't think we're going to be having fast growth for a very long time. the uncertainty around the world in europe and the united states, in china is one thing, the huge debt legacy from the financial crisis is another. and the growing government debt. that said, i mean i wouldn't underestimate the upside with the u.s. being such a creative economy. for example, energy prices have fallen a lot. and there are some other things you can count to on the upside. but so far businesses have been very reluctant to invest heavily, very reluctant to hire heavily. >> muhamed el-erian what do you see-- when you look at all this data coming in, what is most important to you? >> a few things. first the employment picture. and not just whether we're eating jobs or not. that's important. but also what's happening to those who remain unemployed. and that is a pretty worsening picture. that's why i call 2 a crisis. because long-term
unemployment is really high. and youth unemployment is really high. and these are longer-term issues that we need to deal with. so the employment picture is very important. second, clarity for businesses. today no one has the confidence to invest. there is a ton of money, judy, on the sideline, a ton of money. and if we can engage that money in the system would be great. an third as ken rightly said, the global economy. we are facing he is vore headwinds. so a number of things to look at, and as if the obama said in the report, if we manage to bring things together, this economy can sprint but it requires quite a bit of political work to bring things together. >> woodruff: we'll pick up on that ken rog offer. what would it take, and i'm kur bus-- curious about what you see that makes you think that things could get better next year. >> well, this is just a very creative econoy. and it's easier, especially for us economists to see what can go wrong than to
think of these out of the box things, technology, the way globalization works that can go right. certainly, though, they're still the housing is a problem. it's been stabilizing, i think that's been one of the good things but there is still a lot of mortgages underwater. consumer confidence is up but i wouldn't count on it being so good that it's going to be getting us to 4% growth to where we're feeling really good. what i would like to see? well, first of all, i would like to see tax reform in a way that keeps rates reasonable. i don't know if they can be lowered, and gets rid of deductions. i'd like to see spending on infrastructure that is really going to help us grow. i would like to see improvements in education. policy has been stalled for an extended period and a changing world. and we need to catch up. we have to prepare not just for having next year be good but the next ten years, the next 20 years.
>> muhamed el-erian, you spoke about the monies that's sitting on the sidelines and i hear ken rogoff referring to that too. with is it going to take that shake that loose to make business owners feel that it's a good thing to invest. >> it's going to take what ken said and critically, it's about a number of items that have to be addressed simultaneously. you know we like this notion. maybe there's a shortcut, maybe there is a killer app, maybe there is this one thing. well, there isn't. it's taken us years to get in this mess. it's goingo takes years to get out. and we only get out through simultaneous progress on a number of areas. so ken spoke to fiscal reform. he spoke to infrastructure. he spoke to education. i would add labor retraining and retooling. and i would also add fixing the credit pipes of this economy. so it's a long list. it requires simultaneous progress. and the longer we wait, judy,
the harder it gets. >> woodruff: and to end on a negative question, i guess, ken rogoff, what would prevent all of those things from happening? >>boy, well, gridlock in washington. we could have no budget still in january. that's not going to be good for investment. europe has temporarily stabilized but it looks pretty shaky if you are standing in spain or greece. the chinese economy is not only slowing, it's in a political transition that no one knows how it's going to play out. the middle east. like i said, judy, there are lots of things we can think of that can go wrong. but i do think there is a balance because it is a very creative economy there are also things that can go right. >> woodruff: so to both of you, and muhamed el-erian, as you put all this together, and you look at the beginning of 2013, 2014, what do you see? >> so the first thing is i tell the politicians please remove the fiscal cliff.
because if the fiscal cliff occurs, and we get 4% of gdp cuts in spending and then across-the-board decrease in tax, the u.s. will go into recession. the first thing is do no harm. second, is if we can get over that, i see an economy gradually picking up momentum. it's not going to be great. we're going to create jobs, not enough to really lower the unemployment, and hopefully we're going to start dealing with these longer-term issues. so like ken, the thing i find most frustrating, judy, is this is not a complicated issue. we can handle this. we can unleash the innovation, the entrepreneurship, the cash that is on the sideline but it requires a political will and political coordination. >> woodruff: and rogoff, quick last word. >> well, i mean i think that the thing that confuses people is we're not going to go off the fiscal cliff but what direction are we going to go. there are such different
visions coming from the republicans and democrats. frankly i think if either were to win decisively it would be better off than having no policy. but we don't know what direction we're going. i think that is really what the issue is. >> woodruff: on that question mark note we will end, ken rogoff, muhamedelerian, thank you both. >> thank you >> suarez: still toome on the newshour: the hunt for mines in the persian gulf; the ouster of a chinese official; shields and brooks; plus, a middle schooler takes on violence in his school. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: world powers gathered in new york today to discuss ways to bolster support for syria's opposition. secretary of state hillary clinton hosted the "friends of syria" group along the sidelines of the u.n. general assembly meeting. two of syria's key allies, russia and china, were not included in the talks. clinton said the u.s. was offering the opposition an additional $45 million in non- lethal and humanitarian aid. she also used the opportunity to
single out iran for aiding forces loyal to president bashar al-assad. 's most important lifeline is iran. last week a senior iranian official publicly acknowledged that members of the iranian revolutionary guard corp. are operating inside syria. there is no longer any doubt that tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in damascus. >> sreenivasan: in washington, defense secretary leon panetta confirmed the u.s. has intelligence that shows the syrian regime has moved some of its chemical weapons to better secure them. he also said the major stockpiles at main sites are believed to be secure. in august, president obama threatened u.s. action if syria moves or uses its chemical weapons. meanwhile, in syria, the battle for control of the northern city of aleppo intensified as rebels
made their broadest push yet to drive assad's forces out. heavy clashes were reported with government troops firing tank and mortar shells, while rebels fought back with heavy machine guns, mortars and rocket- propelled grenades. it was the heaviest fighting the city has seen in two months. in iraq, some 80 inmates, including al qaeda militants, escaped from a prison. the jailbreak happened overnight in tikrit after several convicts seized weapons from a prison storeroom. they clashed with security guards for hours before overpowering them and breaking free. a dozen people were killed, including ten guards. iraqi officials said 36 of the inmates were later recaptured. police in minneapolis said the gunman in an office shooting yesterday habeenired hours before he killed four people and then himself. another of the shooting victims died in the hospital today. last evening, dozens of police and swat team officials swarmed a minneapolis neighborhood after a man opened fire at a sign- making business. the company's owner and a ups driver were among those killed. three other people were injured in the shootings. the u.s. postal service will miss its next payment to the
treasury, due on sunday. the $5.6 billion will be its second default in as many months. postmaster general patrick donahoe said he has already slashed as much as he can from the agency's operating costs without legislative approval. congress left washington for election season without approving any fix. the postal service has recommended eliminating saturday mail delivery as one cost- cutting measure. bank of america has agreed to pay more than $2 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit with shareholders. the lawsuit stemmed from bank of america's acquisition of merril lynch during the financial crisis in the fall of 2008. investors claimed the bank made misleading or false statements about both companies' financial health. the settlement still needs court approval to go through. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: and we go to the persian gulf, where the u.s. navy and more than 30 other countries just completed the largest exercise ever aimed at hunting and destroying mines in
the waters of the middle east. the drill comes at an especially tense time. israel has threatened to bomb iran's nuclear facilities, and iran in turn promised to mine the strait of hormuz, one of the world's most important shipping routes. the navy invited 20 reporters to cover the military drill. one of them was our own dan sagalyn, who produced this report. u.s. navy sailors and defense contractors onboard the u.s.s. "ponce" in the persian gulf are up early, getting ready to practice protecting their ship and the sea lanes. video from the so-called scan eagle is fed back to the command vessel where sailors watch for boats with hostile intentions. >> the imagery analysts that we have here, that work the scan eagle, they know this ar. so they have been doing this for at least two years looking at the iranians, so we can tell. >> suarez: the drone lands by flying towards a cable, snagging it with its wing.
elsewhere, men haul out the newest tool in their arsenal-- the kingfish, an unmanned, underwater vehicle that uses sonar to locate mines below the surface. just last week, general mohammad ali jafari, the head of iran's revolutionary guards, said "this is a declared policy by iran that if war occurs in the region and the islamic republic is involved, it is natural that the strait of hormuz as well as the energy market will face difficulties." amid the rising tensions with iran, u.s. navy leaders maintain this is purely a defensive exercise. rear admiral kenneth perry is the navy's top anti-mine officer. >> we are conducting these exercises to demonstrate the effectiveness of coordinating the various platforms, and the mission is to clear any strategic choke point, to restore the freedom of
navigation, and to restore the international access to these international waters in as short a time as possible. >> suarez: the strait is narrow, only 25 miles across. the two shipping lanes are even more cstricted, just two miles wide in each direction. it's right off iran's southern coast. 20% of the world's oil flows through it this choke point. mining it could send oil prices skyrocketing. >> the iranian threat is variously measured at from
roughly 2,000 or 3,000 mines to 6,000 or 7,000 mines. most of these are relatively unsophisticated but still quite deadly weapons. they have about 300 to 500 or 600, depending on who you talk to, sophisticated mines with multiple influences. and by that i mean they can fire on a signature of a surface ship or a submarine, whether it is magnetic or acoustic or seismic or other signature that a ship put out. just about everybody we spoke to in uniform said this exercise not about iran. >> it's all about mines, all about mine, freedom of navigation, maritime security, to the about any one particular country. >> the exercise area won't move. >> suarez: but that's not how others see it. >> despite the fact that the department of defence indicated that it not directed at iran, i think is a signature i-- iran.
>> how long would it take to clear mines if iran were determined to close it. >> lieutenant commander lt. commander scott nietzel, the commander of a mine-hunting ship participating in the exercise, wouldn't say. >> it would depend on a number of mines, the density of mines, and what their goal was in mining the strait was. there are a lot of factors that play into it. it also depends on how many forces are committed. >> reporter: independent analysts range in their estimates from a few days, to "many weeks, even months to restore the full flow of commerce". this body of water is particularly hard to clear. >> i like to describe mine hunting on the bottom as playing the child's game, "where's waldo?" i don't know if you've ever played that, but everybody looks like waldo. and you have to look really close to find the real waldo. and that's really what it is, about sorting through the bottom to find the mine from all the other things-- the fish traps, the oil cans, the trash. >> reporter: retired captain robert o'donnell used to be the
navy's director of mine warfare and is now a consultant. >> there are lots of ships, and traffic that go through there, and people throw stuff over the side, it sinks to the bottom. and there are ridges. on the eastern side of hormuz, its basically a big "v" that drops down really deep, so it's a challenge to go mine hunting there. >> reporter: besides searching for mines, the navy also practiced protecting the vulnerable mine-hunting ships, using attack aircraft flying off of aircraft carriers. we visited the u.s.s. "enterprise" in the northern arabian sea. vice admiral john miller commands american naval forces in the middle east. >> there are elements of the exercise that cover maritime security operations. there are elements of the exercise thatover our ability to protect our ships from aviation assets, as well as sea- borne assets, and we are going
to have a great opportunity to understand how all of it works. >> reporter: but these types of so-called "maritime security operations" could easily morph into full-blown war, according to alireza nader of the rand corporation. >> there's high potential for escalation between the united states and iran. if iran mines the strait of hormuz, then the united states would have to clear it. but to do so, the u.s. has to also consider iran's other military assets-- for example, air defense. and once you start hitting these, then a full scale war can erupt. i have a hard time imagining very limited iranian action in
the strait of hormuz and a limited u.s. reaction to it. >> reporter: in a real-world situation, the u.s. would not allow the iranians to get so far as to place mines in the water, and might even seek to destroy iranian mine-laying ships in the first place, according to scott truver. >> the best mine countermeasures in the world are those that prevent weapons from getting put into the water in the first place. once a mine is in the water, it's very hard to detect and determine what's there. it could look for all intents like a refrigerator. but i don't think we'd allow anything but a handful of mines in the water. once we see them doing it, we can make note that we do consider it an act of war if they persist and we would take them out. >> suarez: the navy says this exercise is not focused on preventing mines from getting into the water, only on finding and destroying them once they
are in the water. >> we need to be prepared to deal with mines going in the water. that is part of the overall defense posture. as well as deal with a range of other threats. this exercise is focused on dealing with the mine threat and demonstrating our ability to clear mines. we have to be able to do that. >> this u.s.-led exercise ened yesterday. next month iran plans to hold a major military drill too. it will focus on air defense in stopping attacks on its territory by aircraft producer dan sagalyn blogs about other chalnges in the hunt for mines, including jellyfish and sharks. that's on our home page. >> woodruff: china's ruling communist party ousted one of its former stars today after a year-long soap opera-like scandal.
margaret warner has our story. >> warner: once a flamboyant reformer headed for the top, today, bo xilai stands expelled from the party and facing criminal charges. bo's not been seen publicly since march, when he was removed as party chief of the southwestern city of chonqing, while rumors swirled of a murder scandal involving his wife. the 63-year-old politician had been considered a contender for the highest ranks of china's leadership. but his brash style, his anti- corruption crusades, and his campaign to revive the "red songs" of the mao era antagonized many party leaders in beijing. his drastic change in fortune stems from the murder last november of british businessman neil heywood and its subsequent cover-up. last month, bo's once- fashionable wife, gu kailai, was handed a suspended death sentence after admitting to poisoning her business partner, heywood, at a chongqing hotel. in that affair, the party said
today bo had "abused his powers of office, committed serious errors, and bears a major responsibility." other charges-- of corruption, taking huge bribes, and conducting multiple sexual affairs-- go back more than a decade, as bo rose from mayor of the eastern port of dalian to minister of commerce to the chonqing post. the official statement reported by the xinhua news agency read: "bo's behaviors have yielded serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the party and the country, created very negative impacts at home and abroad, and significantly damaged the cause of the party and the people." the statement went on to announce that the next communist party conference will convene november 8. >> and having settled this contentious issue, the party
leadership is in a position to start the party congress with a facade of unity and also harmony and persuading the chinese public as well as foreign audiences that the party is united, and also ready to face the challenges. >> warner: coming just two days after the u.s. election, the congress will unveil the next generation of leaders, who will run china for the coming decade. xi jinping, currently vice president, is expected to become president as hu jintao steps down. prime minister wen jiabao plans to retire, too. likely to replace him is li keqiang, now vice premier. the change in leadership comes at a key juncture in china's meteoric rise to the world's number-two economic power. after largely side-stepping the global financial crisis through stimulus spending, the country's now grappling with slower growth-- an expected 7.5% this year after more than 9% last year. it's seeing a drop in exports and industrial output, and ongoing labor unrest. so, whadoeshe decision to oust bo xilai mean for china and
its ruling party? for that, we turn to david shambaugh, director of the china policy program at george washington university. professor shambaugh, welcome back to the program. so expelling bo shi l.a. i, put this in context, how big a step is this. >> margaret, it's been a sort of thunder cloud hajs ofering the chinese political system in the country for the last six months. the whole systemas been in suspended animation awaiting for this last shoe to drop as the package just indicated the conviction of his wife and his former police chief where the ant seed ants to today's announcement it is a big-- it a major scandal. it is probably the largest scandal since a man jamed-- on the even of the tiananmen in
1989. and as your package indicated, he was a contender for the highest body, but he obviously stepped on a lot of toes and made a lot of enemies. >> well y did it take, as you said this has been grinding on for months why did it take so long. what was the infighting really about? >> well, we don't entirely know. the chinese political system is known for its opacity, not its transparency. but clearly in addition to the complicity and the murder of the british national heywood, his style when he was the leader irritated the central leaders. he was not a consensual party man. he was kind of more an american style politician, glad handing a lot. trying to build a populous base amongst the poor and the deprived. and really openly campaigning for promotion. as well as bugging apparently his security services were said to bug the president of the country,
he just did a number of things and now we know there are financial irregularities, and huge corruption and bribe-taking. >> de represent any kind of significant ideaological wing in the party s there some theyo maoist leftist cadre or was this just power politics. >> no, very definitely there is a theyo leftest maoist cadre, they have been there really for 30 years. throughout the reform period. they have not been happy with either the external opening to the world or many of the grab what you can grab while you can grab it kind of policies domestically. they see china as having really gone down the wrong path. >> warner: embracing the markets. >> that's right. >> warner: and creating vast social inequities. china has now the world's highest efficient which is a measure of social inequity this is a country of huge haves and have nots.
and the leftists if you will who are actually a rather vocal block within the party and in society, the netidens, the social media, there was one headline today that said microbloggers gloat. >> right. it was so serious it delayed setting the dates for the party congress. was there a power struggle, in the end the same leadership everyone expected is coming in. why were the two so linked and does it is a anything about the triumph of one faction over another. >> there is a lot of speculation in the west about factions in the chinese political system. i don't think they are that solid. i think this is a much more fluid, coalitional political system. bo was a member of one group known as the principleslings. the chyan-- princelings, the
children of the first generation elite. but they don't hold together as a faction. i think a lot of the infighting that has been going on is really about who going to get what position in the political bureau and standing committee, we won't know that until the 8th of november. we will meet the world. >> you heard judy's segment, the start of it, you know b slow u.s. work. and do you share the view that in fact paralysis over what to do about bo and the leadership change has really significantly hobbled the leadership's ability to deal quickly with the economic. >> yes, i do. the case has frozen up the entire system. not just on economic decision-making but political reform,ocial
president of the united states, in 1976. marvelous campaign, a great campaign. stu spencer who was a strategist met with the president in the white house with bob teeter and dick cheney was chief of the staff. said mr. president, are you a great president but you are a terrible campaigner. everywhere you go your numbers go down. so they had a rose garden strategy. i called stu spencer this week to talk about this. and he said the problem that mitt romney has, he doesn't have a rose garden. i mean he can't go back and be sort of in charge of the government. and i just think it's a legal problem. i agree with david on what he said about the 47% because it played into a stereotype that already existed.
and they have a narrative about romney that he was out of touch. my wife ann drives two cadillacs. you want to bet $10,000 he said to rick perry, that tied in. and the 47% speech that he gave on tape just reinforced that about people's already thought. >> woodruff: how do you see that. >> yeah, first of all, i think mitt romney does have a rose garden near the croquet field on one of his many he states. i agree with that. what is unique about there is he is the first candidate whose unfavourable ratings are higher than his favorable ratings. >> woodruff: first candidate ever. >> since we've started polling this sort of thing. >> that's right. >> so al gore had a plus 22 rating even in a losing campaign, john mccain i think was about plus 16. and mitt romney according to pew was minus 5. and so that is, that is a problem. nonetheless, the romney-- barack obama is no walk in the park either. >> huh-uh. >> and so hits people think he deserves to bee-elected,
is the country headed in the right direction, those numbers are terrible too. >> that doesn't mean it's out of reach for mitt romney. i think he has to shift it off to personal stuff and try to get it on the policy stuff and try to run a very policy heavy campaign. that by the way is not what he did this week. he has done a much more compassionate campaign to try to move up his personal ratings. i think that is the wrong strategy. >> is that how he turns it around, by what he talks about. >> i think he's in a difficult position right now, judy, because he's going into debate right now. you have been a little bit behind in this race all the way along. so you say okay, wait until we pick a vice president. you pick a vice president, get a flurry, nothing happens. well, the convention. and now we go in the convention and you know, after the convention, obama opens up a gapment so now it is the debates so the pressure builds. are you going to go in, and do a hail mary pass. everybody has got a trick play they want to use, the statue of liberty, charge them with this, let's do
that. so i think it becomes more difficult for them. i agree with david on the substance. i agree with him that the president is just barely at 50%. he's not, or 49 even, and an incumbent who is known by everybody who is there is certainly no lock for re-election. but the problem is the gap is widening. and it's romney dropping rather than obama opening up a big margin. >> how do you see what romney and the president have to do in the debates. what is the task or let's just talk about the first debate which is next wednesday. >> so obama i think his task is reasonably clear, just be calm, stay calm, whatever that british slogan we're all repeating now, stay calm and in control. he just has to be calm. and somebody made a good point. he had a pretty bad week in the middle east or two wokes in the middle east but he reacted with calmness. so he sort of gets a pass on really what is sort of a chaotic administration policy. romney is the one with the burden. and so i do think he says,
he has to say listen, i haven't been a great candidate but if you elect me there are four organizations i'm going to fix. i am going to fix the tax code -- >> i think romney can remember four. >> it is just too many for people to remember. three, believable. >> okay, do tax code, energy policy and dot political system. or go say hey this guy won't talk about the fiscal cliff, i will cut a deal. i will cut a deal to so we don't go off the fiscal cliff so business can have some confidence that would be the sort of unusual thing i think would be a practical thing that would be believable. >> and so is that right? what romney needs to do is go in and talk about you know name four things. >> well, three, not four. >> three things. >> maybe two or three, no more than three. >> judy, he has to understand this, first of all. the first debate helps the challenger. because for the first time the challenger is stand on the same stage with the president. and the fact that he is not blown away or there is not
an enormous gap between the two, the challenge, whoever the challenger is benefits from that. and he's got to stay within himself. he can't be somebody he isn't. the problem that mitt romney has in addition to being the terrible word of somehow being too rich, and not understanding ode people,s that he, that he doesn't seem authentic so i think he's got to be absolutely within himself and natural. and remember this. this is an open window for voters. this is the only time we're going to seat two of these people standing side-by-side. we're the employment agency. we're deciding which one of these people we want. one of the things we want to decide is who do we want in our living room 2 o-- 250 times a year for the next four years. which one is more comfortable with himself. but basically, neither one of them has answered the question that voters have. and that is where do we go from here. how do we get there. we know we're stalled. we're still out on the lake
and the weather isn't good. but you know, maybe the boat hasn't capsized but where do we go. do we go to a safer harbor. how do we get there. and romney hasn't answered that. because he hasn't, and because his campaign has stumbled so muchback bam has been spared from answering it. >> but what about david's other point that all the president has to do is remain calm. >> i think the president has a real problem. i mean the president cannot appear to be taking it too easy. can't appear to be at any point condescending, overconfident, patronizing. not that that is his natural public demeanor. but i just, you know, i do remember, i think al gore drkts david and i disagree on this i think he lost the campaign in the three debates. the first time with his audible sighs when george w bush was talking, how did i have to end up on the same stage with this guy. and staublinged him in the third debate and walked over
and invate-- invaded his airspace. people said i'm not comfortable with that, because he doesn't seem comfortable with himself. >> i would say he hurt himself, al gore in that case, but i do not believe any campaign has ever been turned on debates. if you look at the predebate polls, the person a led in those predebate polls has won just about every election. so people hurt themselves, they go up and down a little. george bush lost at least two, probably three debates to john kerry, still beat him in the general so i am less persuaded the debates are foundational to any election. >> woodruff: one other thing i want to ask you about, more attention this week to inrnational news. we are the u.n. general assembly, the speech by the iranian leader, the speech by prime minister netanyahu of israel, the president spoke. that's now in the air, today and yesterday romney's campaigning in sort of a military setting. could foreign policy suddenly rise up and be a bigger issue in this campaign. >> i think it's going to be less of an issue after benjamin netanyahu's speech
yesterday. i think there was a concern, a real concern that if netanyahu thought that obama was ing to be re-ected, that the likelihood or the possibility of israel attacking the iranian reactor before the election with the expectation they wouldn't get as good a deal in the second term of obama increased. and yesterday i think he took that off the table. i think now he's talking about next spring, and i think so there is less like leehood of that. but it can happen at any time. foreign policy can occur but the problem that mitt romney has is he hasn't risen to the commander in chief level that people believe that he is and when he chose paul ryan he didn't fill out his resume. he chose not to go in that direction. >> foreign policy. >> i do agree, what bebe said was the key thing which is that we've got several months until next spring. and so that means if there is ever going to be a military attack it will not be pre-election t won't be any time soon. so that lowers the temperature on that issue.
whether the administration has a plausible strategy, they have a good principles which is that we cannot tolerate contain, we can't contain a nuclear iran. they will not get the bomb. but how we get there, the israelis have been frustrated, why are they so vague, why won't they lay out a strategy. that is a concern but more policy concern than a political one. >> woodruff: very different subject but i have to ask you. the nfl lockout of the pro football officials, they resolved it all after that monday night game, mark, which shall we say was controversial. what lessons to be learned from this whole experience. >> myopia and greed of nfl owners is beyond comprehension. i mean these are people who have a $10 billion enterprise and basically for chump change, for walking around money were willing to put the integrity of it in jeopardy. and they united, paul ryan
and scott walker and david brooks as union supporters, they're back in the union. now that is an amazing achievement on the part of the nfl owners. >> i was so furious, i was in a bar watching the green bay game t was just the last game, i think i lesson i mentioned is if you think we're bad, the replacement pundit was be even worse so you should love us a little bit more. >> i disagree with him. >> woodruff: we don't want-- all right, now we know where david spends his monday nights, in bars in new york and other places. >> watching nfl. >> woodruff: mark, david, thank you both. and keep up the talk on the doubleheader and our own jim lehrer will appear in a segment with cbs's bob schieffer on the program "sunday morning" this weekend to talk about the history of presidential debates. >> suarez: and to the last
installment this week in our series of reports about america's dropout problem. tonight, we take a second look at a story about life outside the classroom. we head back to st. petersburg, florida, where one boy's enthusiasm for journalism has helped shine a light on problems, while brightening his future at the same time. it's part of our "american graduate" project. this is how 14-year-old de'qonton davis starts every school day in st. tersburg, florida. he wakes up early and walks his 12-year-old sister terrijana six blocks to the bus stop. to the casual eye, his family's neighborhood seems pleasant and sunny. but on closer look, the scars of poverty and a lingering recession become apparent-- high unemployment, foreclosures, and some of the highest crime rates in the city. last month, de'qonton says he began making it a point to walk with his sister, after a man she didn't know repeatedly tried to get her into his car.
terrijana refused and got away unharmed. >> i always was raised in the hood, never in a quiet place. we always have violence, trouble, something always going wrong. you got loud music, loud people, drinking, smoking, drugs, everything in that one little neighborhood. it turns the whole neighborhood into a bad zone. >> suarez: the family lives in an area of st. petersburg known as midtown, a predominately african-american section of the city that was at one time largely segregated. de'qonton believes midtown's problems have had a profound effect on many students growing up in the neighborhood. and two years ago, he noticed a trend of violence starting on social media web sites, and spreading to his classrooms here at john hopkins middle school. >> my sixth-grade year, we had 100 and something arrests. and most of the time, the fights
with some gangs and stuff that happened at home from facebook and twitter and all that stuff from home, and they came into the school. we had police every day at the school, and i really didn't like that. >> suarez: what the violence did was spark an idea for de'qonton. he hoped to shine a light on the roots of the fighting and why it was happening at john hopkins. de'qonton led a team of his classmates in producing a video for the pbs newshour reporting labs, which showcase student journalism across the nation the end result was a striking six-and-half minute report titled "fighting chance," a deeply honest look at the problems inside the school. >> in 2010, a police officer was shot and killed in the neighborhood. while police searched for the suspect, john hopkins was closed for the day and students had to go to another middle school. >> suarez: the video was
produced as part of a communications magnet program in the pinellas county school district, known as "journeys in journalism." the program places professional journalists in three st. petersburg title-one schools, including de'qonton's. >> there was never a doubt in de'qonton's mind that he wanted to do this story. >> suarez: "journeys in journalism" coordinator cynda mort says de'qonton and his classmates took on a complex and sensitive issue that adults have been trying to deal with for years. >> suarez: when the video was being made, john hopkins principal barry brown was one of the first subjects to be interviewed. he says his middle schooler's have been so professional, he first thought adults were doing most of the work.
>> i think my first take i made them stop. my first interview, i had some kids come in and, i mean, i had to pull data. and i was like, "guys, who wrote these questions?" and they were looking at each other, and finally one of the kids was like, "i did." >> suarez: for de'qonton, who wants be a fire fighter and a photographer when he grows , journalism has given him a reason to stay in school. >> if i didn't have a camera i would probably be led up with the wrong people and doing the wrong stuff, and i wouldn't probably make it to college. >> suarez: and as for his video, which drew attention from local media outletsnd is now gaining national exposure, de'qonton says there is one person in particular he's hoping will watch it. >> i want the president to see what i could do and see what young kids, young black american kids. and i want them to know that somebody out there is trying to learn and trying to get their
education right and be a good adult dad and community when he grow up. >> suarez: de'qonton has finished another video project since we met up with him. you can find out about it on the "american graduate" page on our web site. "american graduate" is a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: the presidential candidates spent the day convincing voters their plans are the right ones to bring the u.s. economy back. but it came in a week of conflicting economic reports on how the recovery is faring. secretary of state hillary clinton hosted a meeting of the "friends of syria" in new york, where she pledged more humanitarian assistance for the opposition. and defense secretary leon panetta confirmed the u.s. has intelligence the syrian regime has moved some of its chemical weapons to better secure them. the death of six-day-old giant panda cub grabbed the attention of the public and scientists. we explore that online.
hari sreenivasan has e details >> sreenivasan: it took five years of trying to produce that baby panda. so, why is panda breeding so tricky? a scientist at the smithsonian explains the biological challenges facing this endangered species. jeffrey brown talks to pulitzer prize winner junot diaz about his new collection of stories, "this is how you lose her." and tonight's edition of "need to know" focuses on the battle for female voters in virginia. "women's choice" airs tonight on most pbs stations. find a link to "need to know" and much more on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. ray. >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. monday is the first monday in october, so we'll preview the supreme court's new term. i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org